I finally took my dad for his angiogram on Wednesday to get the diagnosis for his angina type pains. It took me over six months to get him to go to the doctor, and many nights sobbing to Chris at how frustrating it was that dad wouldn’t help himself, despite his suffering.
“I don’t want to be mucked about by doctors in hospitals” dad had been saying.
And I was to find out why…
Dad’s angiogram went well. I had taken mum out for lunch while he had the procedure and to try to keep her sweet as she keeps playing up – being more abusive to my dad than ever it seems, as she ages and goes downhill mentally.
I was so pleased to find my dad propped up in bed smiling as we arrived back – he was even joking about being ‘shaved like a sheep’ by one of the nurses, in his usual jovial way. Good, I thought, all is well, he got through the angiogram. But, when the doctor came to see us with dad’s diagnosis, we found out all three arteries are diseased and he needs to have a triple heart bypass!
He took it well, and made comments that told me he knew it was more serious than I had thought, but I am only just getting used to the idea as I felt sure it wasn’t a major problem and was more worried about the angiogram than anything else. So, now I know why he’d put off gong to the doctor for so long – he knew there was something quite wrong!
Although it has been very upsetting, I am so glad I feel a lot stronger to be able to help at this time. I love my Dad very much. Mum, although I haven’t spoken about her since publishing my memoir, is going downhill mentally, and quickly. She is not able to support him mentally or physically – quite the opposite in fact, as he looks after her! I will need to address this before he has a bypass that’s for sure.
I am learning very quickly about heart disease, bypass operations and such like and am so glad I have quite a degree of diplomacy and the ability to be bright every time I go to see them.
I want to thank everyone in the last week for their wonderful support on Twitter and Facebook (you know who you are) and for respecting my decision to be quiet for a bit.
I also have an update on dad’s ex employer – we have sent formal grievance letters to him in order to get all the issues sorted out, but have had no reply, so will be taking it to tribunal and I am lucky that I can do this on dads behalf as I don’t want him stressed!
On a different note, my move is going well after a little hiccup last week when the ex tenant decided to let himself into my house, rummaging around for the remains of his stuff, when I had already taken it over and moved lots of my things in. I got a new door today, and an aerial, got a 32in TV for £26 through Gumtree and of course, my famous sofa which I have been posting pictures of everywhere! I am so excited about moving in and having a home with all my things in at last, as they have been spread across three properties for the last two years.
So, I move in next week and then I’ll be fostering cats – yay! I cannot wait for some little furry friends to join me!
With all this going on, I have put all other voluntary work on hold for the moment, but look forward to doing the mental health group training with Rethink very soon, so I will be all ready to help at the centre as soon as I can.
I have also left my medication reduction at the first level as I don’t want to rock the boat with my brain right now, and the first signs of withdrawal symptoms were a little off putting, but I will stop this year. I am mainly happy, though, that, through this stress, I have not binged on alcohol or harmed myself in any other way and this is so encouraging.
Instead, I have been writing my journals and am halfway through my second memoir, the sequel to ‘My Alien Self: My Journey Back to Me’ which I’m really enjoying, as it has a totally different perspective and format. More about that another time though!
And finally, as many of you know, I did a freelance journalism course today in London, which was very motivational and I learnt loads. I look forward to pitching stories to magazines and newspapers about mental health etc and hope to get some volunteers who would like to share their stories with me, so that I can get them in print and share our experiences with the world – hint hint!
My lovely on-line friend, Dody (Doreen Cox, Author of ‘Adventures in Mother-sitting’ – her memoir of the three years she cared for her mother with dementia) recently reminded me how important it is to keep our eyes and ears open to the positives in our lives – past and present. Because, no matter what adversities life throws at us, if we look hard enough, there are always moments of joy and peace. And that is what I am doing, keeping focused on all the joys amid these sad times. It works! I cannot recommend it enough!
Stay strong! And, as always, thank you for reading.